One for the road

Avec le soutien de

We thought we had seen and heard it all on our paradise island. What with those who suddenly turn into a vegetable because they refuse to face the law to answer for their crimes and those who take advantage of an incident to make some money outside the law. The new trend Richard Duval has set and his ingenuousness, however, beat his predecessors flat out.

But let’s fi rst give the devil his due: in these hard times, we really owe him a thank you note for the levity he has provided us with. At least we can have the good and hearty laugh we haven’t been able to have for a long time. And, let’s also thank him for the good news he has brought to all the rotten and murderous drivers who are endangering the lives of other road users. The excuse is ready: ‘we have just taken Benylin cough mixture’. Please stock up before pharmacies run out.

Now let’s look at what happened: Richard Duval’s big Berline – not sure whether it was paid for by taxpayers’ money or not but the chances are it was – hit a concrete barrier. We are grateful that it wasn’t a human life. But it could have been. That he exercised his constitutional right not to submit to a breath alcohol detector check when he was caught fl at-footed is not the problem. We cannot blame him for that. He will have to face the consequences of ‘failure to provide’ which are usually more severe than that of being over the prescribed alcohol limit. Presumably, a person fails to provide a breath sample only if he knows he is above the prescribed limit.

He then offered a series of reasons – some might say lame excuses – which sound like those of a school kid who did not do his homework. First, he claimed that he suffered from asthma. If he did, he would know that asthma would not make him unable to blow into the breath alcohol detector anyway. As a matter of fact, in patients with airfl ow obstruction, the alcohol concentration usually decreases as the volume expired increases. So that would have likely played in his favour. And what about a blood or urine test for that matter? He apparently refused that too.

Later, the reason behind his refusal changed to accommodate his fear of contracting hepatitis, before he suddenly remembered that he had taken a cough mixture containing a high concentration of alcohol. And the police, fully aware of the implications of refusal to provide a breath sample, allowed him to continue his drive back home. It is fortunate that the cough mixture did not result in him hitting a human target this time. In a system where some highway rules are newly written, hotly disputed and poorly understood, Richard Duval may have set a very dangerous precedent and given a readily-available excuse to those wishing to abuse the system.

I don’t know which glass Mr. Duval is served his syrup in but I genuinely think its size should be adjusted.


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